Chinese New Year | Visit nottinghamshire

The Year of the Rat is almost here, and we can't wait to start celebrating. Nottingham is ready to welcome Chinese New Year in style with a host of events and things to do throughout the end of January and part of February. Keep on reading to discover our selection of top go-to places and things to do if you’re looking for a great start to the new year.

2020 is the year represented by the Rat - the first of the 12-year cycle of animals that appear in the Chinese zodiac and calendar. Chinese zodiac is widely spread across most parts of the East Asian countries and has been a part of popular culture for centuries, appearing in films, animations and books alike.  

People born in 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, fall under this Chinese zodiac sign. Some famous names who share birthdays in the year of the Rat include Katy Perry, Eminem, Scarlett Johannson, Prince Harry, John F Kennedy, and William Shakespeare to name just a few.

Don't forget that while you’re out and about celebrating, you can share your escapades with us using #CNY20 and #ChineseNewYear.


Chinese New Year | Visit Nottinghamshire

To celebrate the beginning of the Year of the Rat, a  FREE Temple Fair event will showcase Chinese culture in Nottingham’s Old Market Square on Saturday 18 January between 11am and 5pm. Temple Fairs, also known as Miaohui, are Chinese cultural gatherings taking place during the Chinese New Year period. While such celebrations were once held exclusively near temples (hence the name), they are now are held in a variety of locations.

There will be plenty of activities for families to take part in, including: calligraphy and paper cutting; storytelling and more. So, grab a friend or a family member and enjoy music and dance, including the Chinese dragon dance, along with some authentic Chinese New Year foods. It's an event not to be missed.


Chinese New Year | Visit Nottinghamshire


There's a lot going on at Nottingham Lakeside Arts this year, including a fascinating exhibition showcasing work by leading Chinese artists working in the 21st century. Established by British artist Robert Priseman and his wife Ally Seabrook in 2014, this selection of small contemporary handmade works on paper inlcudes works with ink, watercolour, charcoal, stitching and papercutting. The exhibition runs between Saturday 11 January and Sunday 16 February at Lakeside’s Wallner Gallery, so make sure you drop in and enjoy those captivating works of art. 

Arts & Crafts

Try your hand at one of the oldest Chinese arts – the brush painting – and join one of two sessions planned for the end of January. You don’t have to have any experience to try it out -  there’s one session scheduled for beginners and one for those who already tried and loved it ever since. If you’re a beginner at brush painting or have never tried before, book yourself in on Wednesday 29 January, and if you’ve got some experience under your belt already, put your name down for the session taking place on Wednesday 5 February. Both sessions take place at the Visual Arts Studio at Nottingham Lakeside Arts, are just £8 per person, and include all materials you may need. To find out more and book your place, please click here.

If you’re looking to learn more about traditional Chinese arts and crafts, why not come along to a free drop in session taking place on Saturday 26 January. This family friendly event will keep the youngest members of your family busy, while letting you have a go at calligraphy, paper cutting, Chinese knots and more.

Ping Pong Tournaments

If you’re not an art enthusiast but love sport, you can test your skills in the 8th Si Yuan Cup Table Tennis Tournament. Come as a spectator or have a go yourself in one of the free taster sessions on offer. The tournament takes place at David Ross Sports Village on Sunday 2 February between 9am and 4pm and is open for everyone to enter. To register and find out more, please click here.


On Monday 10 February you are invited to Overheard, an innovative performance in the Lakeside Arts cafe, which lets you eavesdrop with headphones on the actors seated at a table nearby. This funny and moving real-time live audio drama explores the concept of belonging and identity as the cast play out what it means to be British and Chinese at a time of political and cultural upheaval. For more information and to book tickets, please click here.


The University of Nottingham's spectacular Chinese New Year Gala returns between Thursday 6 to Saturday 8 February with a sweeping array of Chinese entertainment which weaves together a beautiful tapestry of the contemporary and traditional. From the enchanting Chinese Erhu, Guzheng and Bamboo Flute music, to edge-of-your-seat group Kung Fu routines, the gala is a perfect way to greet the new year, so get your tickets now to avoid disappointment.

Blog written by Kinga Kapias - Marketing Executive at Visit Nottinghamshire (Updated January 2020)


Old Market Square
Historic Site
Old Market Square
Lakeside Arts
Arts Centre
Lakeside Arts

Nottingham Lakeside Arts is The University of Nottingham's unique public arts centre and museum presenting an eclectic programme of music, dance, theatre, visual art, special collections and family events all year round.

Chinese New Year Drop in Arts and Crafts
Chinese New Year Drop in Arts and Crafts

Grab a friend or take your little ones to Nottingham Lakeside Arts and try traditional Chinese arts and craft...

Brush Painting Workshops
Brush Painting Workshops

This workshop at Nottingham Lakeside Arts is open to anyone keen to learn about the beautiful traditional art of Chinese brush painting.

Chinese New Year Celebrations at Old Market Square
Old Market Square
Chinese New Year Celebrations at Old Market Square

Nottingham City Council and Nottingham Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) invite you to celebrate 2020 - Chinese year of the rat.

8th Si Yuan Cup Table Tennis Tournament
Sporting Event
credit: University of Nottingham

To celebrate Chinese New Year, table tennis players of all ages and ethnicities - beginners or advanced levels - are welcome to enter the tournament. Free taster sessions will also be on offer.

Lakeside Arts Centre | Visit Nottinghamshire

Following last year's brilliantly delivered debut audio theatre piece Citizens of Nowhere? by Ming Ho, Overheard reflects on belonging and identity as the cast explore what it means to be British and Chinese at a time of political and cultural upheaval.



  1. answer
    Visit notting Hampshire has a blog about celebrating their Chinese new year. They host the event between January and February to discover the top places and students able to visit to solve their queries easily. You can also get all the famous names in their party. Join it for the pictures.

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